“Downton Abbey” recap: Ep. #5.2

So, it’s been three or four days since Downton Abbey‘s latest episode aired and, honestly, it only started getting good towards the last 10 minutes of the show. If the entire season had started with those 10 minutes, we might be better off, storywise.

Why do I say that? Because we actually got CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. Development in not just one, not two, not even three, but FOUR CHARACTERS. We have Grantham and Branson at each other’s throats again, but with even deeper stakes this time (if that’s even possible) and Branson getting a swift kick in the pants from Sarah Bunting, who, despite her small crush on him, seems to love goading him and reminding him of how his former self would slap him silly right now. Edith has finally found a bit of happiness as her daughter’s own godmother (despite Marigold’s foster mother’s annoyance at this and her husband’s odd approval of this arrangement).

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Most shockingly of all, Thomas, who has just seen his best friend Jimmy sent packing after having sex with a Lady, was offered a chance at redemption by none other than Anna. Thomas even opened up his heart to Anna, saying that even though he schemes and connives, he really does want to be liked, but expects to be hated because of who he is.

Can I call Mary going on a sex fling development? I guess. But I really don’t want to because I despise her. All she is is mean and unsympathetic all the time (especially to Edith, who is in a constant state of emotional turmoil) and when she’s not mean, she’s shallow. Why is she dismissing Blake the way she did? Between him and Gillingham, Blake is the best one because he challenges her the same way Matthew did. I dare say he challenges her even more, since Matthew didn’t get her to round up pigs in the mud. But instead, she decides to go on this sex romp with Gillingham (who is gorgeous, I will admit). But honestly, get your life together, Mary. Get with Blake.

All I want for real, though, is for Mary to get her just desserts at some point. I just want Edith to get her comeuppance and for Mary to finally be the one disgraced since she should have been disgraced several times over. She’s had a blackmail threat and a literal dead body on top of her, and somehow NONE of this gets out to the press? PUH-LEAZE. Meanwhile, all Edith has wanted was love, and what does she get? Old, insecure love interests who are desperate for just a woman, not a wife, and one fiance who is now presumed dead and a child she can’t claim for fear of being disowned.

At this point, though, what does Edith have to lose by being disowned? Her parents all but hate her and think she’ll be the one who’ll nurse them in their old age. Mary loves pouncing on her like Lucifer, the cat from Cinderella, does on those poor mice. She should just steal a quarter of Grantham’s money from the safe I know he has somewhere in his house, leave a note, and then escape in the middle of the night with her child and go live in London or, even better, France. I’d watch the heck out of that show.

I’d also watch the heck out of Thomas just giving up on his paltry dreams of acceptance among the upper class and go find Jimmy and traipse around England (or meet up with Edith in France) and just become the prankster kings of England. And, Jimmy, who knows how to throw gaydar signals too well, can launch an initiative to find Thomas a man. He wants to see him happy, after all. I guess what I’m ultimately saying is that Gwen had the right idea to leave Downton and become a secretary. Congrats to you for living your own life, Gwen. You’re the smartest of the bunch.

Also, blah blah about Baxter and Molesley and Lady Grantham. Once again, a character is pointing out inaccurate character beats, which is something this show needs to STOP.  Lady Grantham literally says, “I’m not sure why I’m keeping you around when I know you steal people’s jewelry, but yet I’ll keep you around.” What she should have added to that was “I’ll keep you around because the writers want you to stay and we’re all pawns in this made-up farce of aristocratic life.” Realistically, Lady Grantham should fire her unless Baxter had a good reason for her crime. Also, realistically, Baxter should have said everything when she had finally gotten up the nerve to tell her. WHY WAIT FOR NO REASON?! This is not “creating drama.” This is just dragging stuff out for no real reason.

But, it would seem Lady Grantham is about to get her swerve on like her daughter, what with art historian Simon Bricker who was openly flirting with her and angering Lord Grantham so badly that I don’t think he realized that he compared his wife to Isis, the dog. WTF, Grantham!?

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Overall, stuff happened, as it always does. Also, Carson SHOULD NEVER FLIRT WITH ANYONE AGAIN. The mental dry heave I had when he suggestively said to Mrs. Hughes, “get on, you” (or something to that effect) was tremendous. Carson is best when he’s asexual and repressive, not virile. Ugh.

Finally: The other changes coming to Downton: Daisy learning math from Bunting, a wireless (radio) gets installed, and Anna realizes her place in the sexual revolution of the times.

What did you think? Give your opinions in the comments section below!

Photo credit: Nick Briggs/Carnival Film Television Limited 2014 for MASTERPIECE

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